Virtual Assitants or Chatbots?

When asked about Virtual Assistant and Chatbots, many people assumed that the two of them are the same thing.

Although they have similarities, they are actually two different things. 

Here are some distinct differences between the two of them:

1. Programming

    • Chatbot

Most chatbots are usually text-based. This means that they process text inquiries and then give a reply to those inquiries. When building a chatbot, it is usually rule-based. This means that programmers will be building a scenario of how conversation or inquiries will usually go.


    • Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants (VA) on the other hand are a little bit more complicated. Instead of  placing several rules for customer inquiries, Virtual Assistants are made with machine learning and artificial emotional intelligence. This means that instead of building rule-based software, VAs are being built with AI programming that allows them to navigate the customers’ needs by themselves. 

2. Capability


    • Chatbot

Since it is a rule-based software, Chatbots can only function and answer inquiries that were listed in the program. Without machine learning, if customers were to type in an inquiry that has no answer in the database, chatbots will usually return an error or a reply saying that they do not understand the inquiry. 


    • Virtual Assistants

Equipped with AI, VAs are much more dynamic than chatbots. At times, VAs might be able to understand the consumers’ intentions and needs according to how the conversation flows. 

3. Uses

    • Chatbot

One of the most popular uses of Chatbot is for customer service. Since chatbots are available 24/7 and can answer most customers basic questions, it is deployed as the first thing that customers can interact with. However, due to the limited information in their database, usually a chatbot would not be able to answer a complicated question or a question that is too specific to one customer. 

Therefore, chatbots will usually be used as a buffer point between customers and a live agent. 


    • Virtual Assistants

VAs tend to be more dynamic due to the involvement of AI in the system. Just like its name, they are used to take notes, help with several tasks and other things just like an assistant would. VAs can also be used for customer service but usually it does more than answer questions. Some of the examples that we can see are H&M’s chatbot that is able to recommend specific clothing to the customers.


Which one is better?

So between the two, which one is better? It depends on what you are using it for! If you only need something simple that helps you answer frequently used questions, then chatbot would be a great fit as there are outlets that let you put in the rules yourself. If you need something that can interact with your customers in your place or helps with your tasks, then Virtual Assistants might be the better option for you!


If you are looking for something in between, then Makebot has just the thing for you! Our chatbots are rule-based, however, since it is AI based and equipped with Natural Language Processing, our chatbot can converse with customers naturally and predict their intentions!


Learn more about Makebot here!